15 Ways To Mess With a Sleep Obsessed Parent

Sleep Obsessed Parent

For parents of little kids, sleep can often feel about as stable as a straw house. One mild breeze and the whole thing can come crashing down in the form of whines, tantrums, frequent night wakings and a bedtime routine that takes longer than running the Boston Marathon.

What makes this all the more frustrating is that we’ve spent so much time and effort building a strong foundation for that delicate structure that any bobble or slight collapse makes us feel like we have to start building all over again. We become the highly underpaid and stressed out General Contractor of a feeble construction site in a bad part of town.

In an effort to avoid total destruction, we sacrifice spending more time at that play date, or staying out late at a family’s party, in order to get our kids to sleep on time. However, a well-meaning friend, family member, or even a spouse who doesn’t realize how fragile this whole sleep operation is can blow an unintentional hurricane into your sleep routine, that will totally sabotage everything you’ve worked so hard to guard against.

And there is not enough plywood and duct tape to protect against that kind of disaster.

So what kinds of “hurricane-force” sleep interruptions should you be on the lookout for? We thought it would be fun to bring you some of the zanier sleep disruptions we’ve heard about over the years. Keep reading for 15 truly crazy ways to mess with a sleep-obsessed parent!

15 Ways To Mess With A Sleep-Obsessed Parent

  1. Choose nap time to start drilling that IKEA desk together.
  2. Start a favorite Disney movie 15 minutes before bedtime.
  3. Ignorantly ring the doorbell, even though there’s a post-it right on the door that politely reads “please knock”.
  4. Suggest going out for ice cream after lunch. When parents explain that nap time happens right after lunch, ask the toddler, “Wouldn’t going for ice cream be more fun than a nap?”
  5. Play hide and seek with the kid’s lovey before nap time, but then immediately forget the last place it was hidden.
  6. Shun a calming bedtime story, like Goodnight Moon, in lieu of something more “exciting”, like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
  7. Let the kids know that you’ll be catching up on all their favorite cartoons while they sleep.
  8. Decide that nap time would be the perfect time to test the smoke alarms.
  9. Announce before putting the kids down for nap that after they wake up, the whole family will be going to Chuck E. Cheese.
  10. Skip story time before bed, and opt for “trampoline time” on the mattress instead.
  11. Offer to put the kids to bed, and then dress them in pajamas with really scratchy tags on the collar.
  12. Ask the parents if the toddler can have a quick snack before nap time. When parents say yes, offer the toddler a few handfuls of Skittles.
  13. Figure that, since it’s a pretty day, it’s a great time to rev up that motorcycle…and then let it idle forever.
  14. Since the baby looked so tired, assume it’s okay to just let them sleep “for a couple of minutes to take the edge off”, RIGHT before nap time or bedtime. Be sure to hand the baby off to parents only after she’s woken up and is really starting to scream.
  15. Sneak in to give that adorable baby one last, big, noisy smooch before leaving to go home. Be sure to step directly on all the squeaky spots on the floor as you walk out of the room.

Keep in mind that while the occasional “gale force wind” of a sleep interruption may happen, and temporarily destroy the quality sleep you’ve worked so hard to build, interruptions are to be expected every now and then. Such is life. We just hope that your interruptions are a little less “cruel and unusual” than the ones we just listed!

(Oh – and in the meantime, if you want to hand this list out to your family and friends as a “things not to do do unless you want an enemy for life” checklist, we totally understand!)

Sleep Help For The Sleep Obsessed Parent

Even the most sleep-obsessed parent needs a little sleep help now and then. (Okay, maybe LOT of sleep help right now!) That’s where we come in :-) If you need sleep help from an expert, that’s guaranteed to work, we can help! Our team of expert consultants is ready to offer you compassionate, caring support that is 100% personalized to your unique situation. We will craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ specifically for your family, that walks you through every step of the sleep coaching process, in a way that matches your goal and parenting style.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Okay, confession time – what’s the craziest sleep-sabotaging technique you’ve witnessed? Let’s get the conversation going!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 
Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

5 Facts That Equal Better Toddler Sleep

Better Toddler Sleep

If you have a toddler who just won’t sleep well – who’s popping in and out of bed like a jack-in-the-box at bedtime, for instance, or who still wakes frequently at night, or who just won’t take long, restorative, consistent naps, despite your best efforts – then odds are you’re feeling at your wit’s end, and are looking for any (ANY) ideas that’ll help you get your toddler sleeping better.

Well, look no further! Today, Renee Frances, author of the adorable Good Night Fairy book series, is here with us today, sharing 5 key facts that will help even the most sleepless of toddlers get the rest they need. Read on to learn more about these 5 keys, and to learn how you can enter to win one of 6 copies of Renee’s award-winning book, A Visit From the Good Night Fairy!

5 Facts That Equal Better Toddler Sleep

  1. Consistency is Calming
  2. Your toddler will be more relaxed if she knows what is going to happen next. Predictable schedules and a bedtime routine will set the tone, and help your child to ‘wind down’ before settling into bed. To help your toddler’s body secrete that special ‘sleep hormone’, melatonin, dim the lights and shut off all screens about an hour before you begin your family’s bedtime routine. Ideally, your child’s bed time should not only allow her to get adequate sleep; it should ideally allow you and your partner or spouse a few hours of ‘down time’ without the pitter-patter of little feet.

  3. Deep Breathing is Relaxing
  4. Deep breathing (with focused attention on your breath) is a relaxation exercise that is recognized by the National Sleep Foundation as helpful for people who suffer from insomnia. Interestingly, many children practice ‘deep breathing’ naturally; their chest and bellies naturally expand with each breath. You can help your toddler intentionally practice deep breathing by having them inhale slowly through their nose, holding their breath for a few moments, then exhale through the mouth. This practice should be as “un-forced” and natural as possible.

  5. Awareness of Surroundings Decreases Anxiety
  6. Your child is less likely to be anxious at night if he knows that his surroundings remain unchanged even when the lights are off. Simply installing a nightlight can resolve your little one’s fear of the dark. Sometimes, however, the shadows may be worrisome because their shapes are somewhat unexpected or unfamiliar. To help illustrate the concept that shadows are ‘what happen when light can’t go through an object’, you can show your child how to make a ‘shadow puppet’ with a flashlight and your (or his) hand, or some favourite toys. Show him how the length of the shadow changes with the angle of the light hitting the object. By taking the mystery out of ‘the dark’, you may help your child feel less fearful.

  7. Positive Self-Talk Reduces Stress
  8. Positive self-talk and its counterpart, positive thinking, correlate strongly with many important health benefits, including lower levels of distress, lower levels of depression, and greater psychological and physical well-being. Teaching your child the skill of approaching a challenging or unpleasant situation (and for some toddlers, bedtime is just that!) in a more positive way can have both immediate benefits and long-term effects. Guiding your child through some positive self-talk at bedtime can be an effective tool to help your ‘reluctant sleeper’ to sleep well through the night and have a happier tomorrow.

  9. Rewards Increase the Likelihood of Desired Behaviours
  10. Offering rewards as incentives increases the likelihood of a desired behaviour. Rewards are particularly effective for individuals who are reluctant to perform a ‘target’ behaviour – like a toddler who’s reluctant to go to bed! If the behaviour that you desire is for your child to sleep through the night on her own, reward that behaviour when it happens. In preparation, your child should know that staying in her own room throughout the night may result in a reward.

How A Visit From The Good Night Fairy Can Help Your Toddler Sleep

A Visit From The Good Night FairyA Visit from the Good Night Fairy weaves all 5 of these key facts throughout the storyline, making it a great bedtime tool for your toddler This clever and engaging tale unfolds with a typical night in the life of a young family, whose little one seems to have some common night time fears. This night is special, however, because after waking up early and finding her child still in his own bed, Mommy has a chance encounter with the “Good Night Fairy” herself, who places a small gift at the foot of the still-sleeping child’s bed!

You can use the themes in this story to your advantage. Be prepared to reward your child the on the very first occasion that he successfully sleeps through the night on his own. The reward should something that your toddler enjoys (e.g., a sticker or a coin), and it can be left for him at the foot of the bed (as the Good Night Fairy does), under the pillow, or even near the bedroom door, if you are afraid your child may wake up if you enter the room.

To ensure that your child understands the connection between sleeping through the night and the gift from the Good Night Fairy (named REMy, after the Rapid Eye Movement stage of sleep), reward the first two or three nights that he successfully sleeps through on his own (this is known as a Continuous Schedule of Reinforcement). After a few nights, switch to a Partial Schedule of Reinforcement, during which your toddler will need to sleep two (or three) nights in a row before receiving a reward. Partial schedules of reinforcement use fewer resources, are very effective, and more likely to help your toddler make sleeping through the night a permanent habit. (Note that it’s important that your child does not receive a reward unless he actually sleeps through the night on his own.)

After your child is sleeping on his own for 5-7 consecutive nights, leave your child with a note from ‘REMy’, congratulating him for being such a ‘big kid’. The Good Night Fairy might add that she will still make sure that your child is safe and well through the night, but will no longer leave gifts (which are for children who really need the REMy’s help).

How To Win One Of 6 Copies Of A Visit From The Good Night Fairy

A Visit From The Good Night FairyThe techniques discussed above have been clinically proven to soothe, relax, empower, decrease anxiety, and increase the likelihood of desired behaviour – which means they’re perfect tools to use with your bedtime-resistant toddler! Renee’s adorable book, A Visit from the Good Night Fairy, incorporates each of these five tools: a consistent bedtime routine, deep breathing, positive self-talk, use of a night light, and positive reinforcement. This Mom’s Choice Award-winning children’s picture book just may be the perfect tool to help motivate your child to have a more restful night’s sleep.

And we bet that whether you have a sleep-fighting toddler at home right now, or whether you want to be ready for the day when your wee babe becomes a sleep-fighting toddler, you’ll want to take advantage of this chance to win a FREE copy of your own! Best of all, Renee has graciously agreed to personalize each winning copy with a special note for your family.

Here are the details:

  • Enter to win any time between 8 a.m EDT, Monday, March 23rd and 8 p.m. EDT, Monday, March 30th.
  • This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian entrants only.
  • Winners must be willing to provide a mailing address for prize shipment.

Enter to win today, using the Rafflecopter widget below:

d123276e569e4632569136ede7781896As a teacher, businesswoman, wife, and a mom of two lovely young girls, Renee Frances can appreciate the importance of a good night’s sleep! Inspired (read: exhausted) by real-life events, Renee penned “A Visit from the Good Night Fairy” with the hopes of helping more little-ones (and their family members!) sleep through the night on their own.
 
 

Resources For ALL Your Baby And Toddler Sleep Challenges

No matter what sleep challenges you’re facing, our team of expert sleep consultants can help! We’re standing by, ready to craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for your family, that’s tailored to your unique challenges, goals, and lifestyle.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 
Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

25 Nap Time Tips: How To Help Your Baby Nap Better and Longer

25 Nap Time Tips

We know, parents, we know – judging by what we’re hearing from many of you in our Helpdesk, naps are high on your radar! You want to know how to make them more consistent, how to make them longer, how to make each nap as restorative as possible…in short, you want to become the Nap Jedis. And we get it; a great nap schedule is, after all, one of the keys to sleeping through the night!

bss_ebook_7napmistakes_left-transIf you’re struggling with short and inconsistent naps, you’ll definitely want to take a moment to download our free nap guide – it’s a great, easy-to-read guide that walks you through some of the most common napping mistakes we parents tend to make, and offers tips on how to solve them.
 

You’ll also want to keep reading this article – it lays out 25 nap time tips you can start using as early as your child’s next nap!

25 Nap Time Tips You Can Put To Use Today – As Early As Your Child’s Next Nap!

  1. Don’t force a nap time schedule too soon. Most babies aren’t ready for a by-the-clock nap time schedule until around 5 months or 6 months; forcing your child onto a clock-based nap schedule before then can actually results in over tiredness, which will make overall sleep worse.
  2. Rigid or flexible nap schedule? Speaking of schedules – all nap schedules don’t look the same, and not all nap schedules work for all babies. Some babies and parents do great with a flexible, relaxed daytime schedule that works more like a rough outline of how the day will go. Other families, however, do better with a rigid schedule that is extremely predictable. And even the same baby may need different schedules at different seasons of life, so be ready to get flexible or tighten up depending on your baby’s development and needs.
  3. For newborns and young babies – watch sleep cues closely. Don’t watch the clock to determine your newborn’s next nap – instead, watch for sleepy cues, like yawning, eye-rubbing, staring off into space, etc. If you wait until your baby is fussing, you’ve waited too long – crying is usually a sign of over tiredness.
  4. Offer your toddler a snack or meal before nap time. Your toddler’s rapid growth and development (not to mention boundless energy!) burn a lot of calories, so be sure to offer a meal or a small snack before nap time – this will prevent your toddler from waking early from the nap, out of hunger.
  5. Offer your baby a feeding close to, but not right before, nap time. Toddlers need food fairly close to nap time, but be careful about feeding your young baby right before a nap – particularly if your baby has reflux or GERD. Feed and burp, and then make sure your child is upright for a bit, so that you avoid a mid-nap spit-up session.
  6. Create a nap time routine. Bedtime routines are great, and nap time routines are, too! Your nap time routine can simply be a shortened version of your bedtime routine. Be sure to do it consistently before each nap, as a way to set the stage for good nap time sleep.
  7. Avoid screen time right before nap time. TV and sleep do not mix! Avoid having your toddler watch TV or play on an iPad or tablet right before nap time, as it may lead to a too-short nap. End all screen time at least 30 minutes before your toddler’s nap time.
  8. Avoid too many on-the-go naps. On-the-go sleep (the kind that happens in a carseat or stroller) is less restorative than sleep that happens in the crib. Occasional on-the-go naps are fine, but the majority of your child’s naps should happen at home, or at a caregiver’s.
  9. For younger babies, work on having one or two naps a day in the crib, if you’re working towards more independent sleep. There’s no rush to work on sleep coaching with your young baby, but if you’re working on helping your baby sleep more independently, aim for the first morning nap (and possibly the first afternoon nap) happen in the crib. You can also work laying your baby down drowsy but awake during these naps.
  10. No naps before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. For babies older than 3 or 4 months, a good rule of thumb is to have no early-morning or evening naps. Early-morning naps tend to reinforce early-waking habits, and evening naps tend to mess with bedtime.
  11. Wake your child from a nap that’s going too long. You don’t generally want to wake a sleeping baby(that’s especially true for newborns!), but there are times when you need to wake your child from sleep, and an extra-long nap is one of those times. If your child naps too much during the day, it will almost certainly affect night sleep.
  12. Avoid letting naps in the infant swing become a habit. It’s fine to use the swing to soothe and relax your baby – and it’s no problem if your child catches an occasional “swing nap”. But avoid letting your baby take the majority of her naps in the swing.
  13. Catnaps are normal for newborns and young babies, and during a nap transition. In general, you want an hour to be around an hour (or more) in order to be restful. If your child’s naps are always 30 or 45 minutes, that’s a problem. However, short catnaps are very normal for newborns, and during a nap transition, when your child is working on dropping a nap.
  14. Know the timing and signs of nap transitions. Speaking of nap transitions – it’s a great idea to read up on when they happen and how to ease the transition for your child. Nap transitions can be tough, but the more you know, the easier they are to manage.
  15. White noise can be key to making naps last longer. All those daytime noises – dogs barking, phone ringing, traffic bustling – can make it hard for your child to sleep well. White noise is a great way to block out these sounds, and help your child sleep deeply.
  16. Make sure your nap expectations are reasonable. We find that lots of parents make the mistake of expecting too much nap sleep from their children – so what they see as nap “problems” really aren’t problems at all. Be sure to learn how much nap sleep your child really needs, and keep your expectations reasonable.
  17. Understand that nap sleep and night sleep are different. Your child may sleep well at night, but that doesn’t guarantee naps will be great. Why? Because nap sleep and night sleep are very, very different, and are handled by different parts of your child’s brain.
  18. Remember that nap training and nighttime sleep training are different. Speaking of the ways that nap sleep and night sleep differ – remember that the approaches you use to sleep train for nights and for naps may need to be different. You may need to use different sleep training methods, a different pace, etc.
  19. Find a balance between noise and silence. Creating an optimal nap environment (read: quite and dark) can go a long way towards lengthening naps. But don’t go crazy with it; after all, depending on your living situation, daylight hours may be noisy around your house! Know that you can’t prevent every disruptive sound, and while it’s true that you probably can’t teach your baby to sleep through noise, you also can’t drop a “cone of silence” over your home at nap time, either! ;-)
  20. Find a balance between light and dark. Just as keeping your child’s napping area dark can really help produce great naps, keeping your baby’s room very dim during naps can be a great way to signal to your child that it’s time to settle down and sleep. But again, don’t go crazy with it…you probably won’t have much luck in making your baby’s room pitch-black at noon on a sunny day!
  21. Don’t switch to one nap too soon (many parents do!) Many parents make the mistake of assuming that the transition from 2 naps to 1 should happen around 12 months (probably because there’s a little nap regression that happens around that time), but most babies aren’t ready to transition to 1 nap at 12 months.
  22. Establish “rest time” for your toddler, once he’s done with naps. When your toddler is ready to stop napping, you don’t have to give up your afternoon peace and quiet! Instead, try establishing a “rest hour” for your toddler.
  23. If you’re sleep training, you may want to work on nights before naps. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, of course, but some families find that it’s easier work on nighttime sleep first, and then focus on naps once nighttime sleep has improved.
  24. When sleep training, know how long to work on a nap (and when to give up!) How long you should work on naps during sleep training will vary from child to child (and a sleep consultant can help you figure out the timing that’s best for your child), but in general, you don’t want to spend 2 hours working on one nap! ;-) Instead, work on a nap for awhile, then take a break. You can try again, or – depending on your nap schedule – you may need to wait until the next nap time to try again.
  25. Take “schedule busters” in stride, but don’t let them undo your nap progress. “Schedule busters” like teething, growth spurts, illness, and sleep regressions can destroy your child’s napping habits temporarily. It’s fine to take a break form your usual napping routines to comfort your child, but be sure that you avoid creating any new napping habits you’ll have to undo later.

Don’t Endure Another Bleary-Eyed Day: Get Nap Help From A Pro!

Working on nap sleep really stumps some families (again – nap sleep is different than night sleep!). But not to worry…if naps are a nightmare in your home, we can help! Our team of expert consultants is ready to offer you compassionate, caring support that is 100% personalized to your unique situation. We will craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ specifically for your family, that walks you through every step of the sleep coaching process, in a way that matches your goal and parenting style.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Have nap time tips of your own? Share them below! Nap time questions? Ask, and we’ll answer!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
 
Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

11 Cry It Out Dos and Don’ts (Plus How Your Baby’s Temperament Affects Cry It Out Sleep Training)

Cry It Out Dos and Don'ts

We’ve said a lot over the years about cry it out sleep training methods: we’ve defined cry it out and shared ages to try it (if you feel so led), differences between controlled crying and cry it out, how to determine if you should try cry it out, and whether or not cry it out will change your baby’s personality.

But nevertheless, this is a topic that we get lots of questions about in our Helpdesk. Specifically, lots of parents ask us when they should/shouldn’t try cry it out, and how cry it out is going to work with their babies’ personalities and temperaments.

Well, you’ve asked – and now we’re answering! Keep reading for 11 vital dos and don’ts of cry it out sleep training, as well as tips to help you decide whether or not cry it out will work with your child’s temperament.

11 Cry It Out Sleep Training Dos and Don’ts

A quick note – please don’t take this article to mean that we are recommending you try cry it out over other sleep training methods. We’re not! We know that most families really prefer to try gentler methods, and can’t stand the idea of hearing their babies cry…but we also know that some families end up needing to use cry it out, for a variety for reasons. That’s why we share information about cry it out sleep training – because we know that some of you will need it.

And that transitions us nicely into point #1…

  1. DO explore other methods, because cry it out is many parents’ last resort – and there are a number of other, gentle sleep training methods that can work well.
  2. DO establish a strong foundation first – make sure your child’s environment is sleep-friendly, and that you’ve made any necessary changes to your child’s sleep and feeding schedule at least 1 week before you start sleep training. You’ll also want to rule out any other cases of your child’s night waking or short naps before you try cry it out. Our team is 100% committed to using this kind of holistic approach to sleep, which is why we NEVER jump straight to cry it out sleep training.
  3. DO make sure you are prepared to follow through. Cry it out requires a lot of resolve – you have to be ready to go down that road!
  4. DO find a support system to help you through. Make sure your spouse or partner is on board (that’s key to cry it out success, as you both have to respond to your baby in the same way in order for sleep training to work). If your spouse isn’t supportive, make sure you have a friend or other family member you can turn to to vent. And, of course, you can always turn to our team of expert consultants for compassionate support and a sympathetic ear, as well as expert advice in how to make sure cry it out goes as smoothly (and as quickly) as possible.
  5. DO make a plan ahead of time. A plan is critical to any kind of sleep training success, but it is especially key to cry it out success. You need to decide ahead of time how you’re going to handle your baby’s crying, and what your overall timeline for sleep training looks like.
  6. DON’T try cry it out sleep training too young. You should always use gentle methods to help your baby learn to sleep well during the newborn stage, and even at 4 months - 6 months, you will likely want to go for gentler approaches.
  7. DON’T night-wean at the same time you are using cry it out. Why? Because doubt about whether or not your baby is crying out of hunger, or crying because he wants help falling asleep, will eat away at even the best of plans.
  8. DON’T send mixed messages or be inconsistent in your approach. Stick to your sleep coaching plan for at least a week or two before you make changes – and be sure that while you are using cry it out sleep coaching, you are as consistent as possible in how you respond to your baby. If you’re inconsistent, it’s unfair to your child – not to mention confusing.
  9. DON’T wait until you’re at your wit’s end and do it. See, parents who resort to cry it out because they’re practically cross-eyed with exhaustion tend to do it without a plan, and then ultimately end up sending mixed messages and being inconsistent (see the previous point).
  10. DON’T do naps and nights at the same time. This just ends up being too much crying for your baby AND for you, and that can make it nearly impossible to follow through.
  11. DON’T have high expectations that you will be “done” in 3 days. While that’s true for some, it’s not true for all. Instead, plan for a realistic timeline before you start.

Cry It Out Sleep Training And Your Baby’s Temperament

It’s important to remember that trying cry it out sleep training with your baby isn’t just about whether or not you’re ready to try it – it’s about how your baby will handle the process, too! The truth is, certain temperaments respond much better to cry it out than others, so knowing ahead of time how your baby’s personality will mesh with cry it out is important.

You can read our entire baby sleep and temperament series for specific details on how each temperament trait will work with cry it out, but here’s a quick summary to get you started:

  • Slow to adapt, persistent, and intense children may have a harder time with CIO and cry too intensely, because cry it out can be such an abrupt change from what they’re used to.
  • An adaptable, easy-going baby will likely cry very little, if at all.
  • With consistent babies, it may be easier to time up bedtime and nap times, giving you more confidence that your baby is ready for sleep at bedtime and at nap time. That, in turn, will make it easier to stay consistent with cry it out, because you won’t be wondering if your baby is crying because she’s not tired enough for sleep.
  • High-energy babies may need longer wind-down times before sleep, and may also have more energy to cry longer, which will obviously make cry it out tough.

Now, this isn’t to say that you CAN’T do cry it out with a baby who is slow to adapt, persistent, intense, or high-energy – that’s not the case. It simply means that you will need to proceed with caution, and to have appropriate expectations.

All this said, if you’re struggling with sleep training your baby – whether you’re considering cry it out or not – you may need help from an expert. Our team of expert consultants is ready to offer you compassionate, caring support that is 100% personalized to your unique situation. Whether you want to start with gentle methods, or whether you want personalized recommendations about how to proceed with cry it out, we will work with you, and use approaches that mesh with your goals, your parenting philosophy, and your child’s personality and temperament. Let our team start working on your Personalized Sleep Plan™ today!

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

What are your thoughts on the dos and don’ts of cry it out? We want to hear from you!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 
Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

10 Bedtime Story Books You Can Turn Into Sleep Training Tools

Bedtime Books Sleep Training Tools

We’ve already said a lot (A LOT) on this site about bedtime – including when exactly bedtime should happen. We’ve also written a ton about bedtime routines – what bedtime routines should (and shouldn’t) look like, why a bedtime routine is key to sleep coaching, and more.

But here’s a part of most parents’ bedtime routines that goes overlooked as a sleep training tool: the bedtime story book. Sure, most of us probably spend at least a few minutes reading to our little cherubs before tucking them in at night, but have you ever stopped and thought about how you can turn the bedtime story to your (sleep training) advantage?

You can.

Now, that’s not to say that you have to choose special “sleep-focused” books at bedtime – there’s a lot to be said for simply reading a good book to your kiddo, regardless of whether or not it mentions sleep! Reading is hands-down the best way to establish early literacy, and it makes for pretty fantastic parent-child bonding time, too.

But if you’re sleep coaching, you no doubt want to utilize every tool at your disposal to help the process along – and the bedtime books you choose can be powerful tools indeed. Read on for details!

10 Bedtime Books You Can Turn Into Great Sleep Coaching Tools

Unknown-6 BOOK: Goodnight Moon – by Margaret Wise Brown

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: A bedtime book classic! Little bunny bids “good night” to everything in his room, before peacefully drifting off to sleep himself.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Have a toddler who’s fighting off bedtime? Saying “good night” to the things she encounters as she goes through her bedtime routine is actually a powerful way to help signal that it’s time to go to sleep. It’s also a way for your toddler to mentally reassure herself that everything else in her life (and in her room) is going to sleep too – so she’s not missing anything. ;) And this is a great book for babies, too – the simple illustrations and primary colors provide great visual appeal for infants!

 
Unknown-5 BOOK: A Book of Sleep – by Il Sung Na

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: A wide-awake little owl swoops through this beautifully-illustrated book and watches all the other animals settle down (and snuggle down) for sleep.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: If you have your own “wide-awake” little watchful owl at bedtime, this book is a great resource! As your child watches how all the animals sleep in their own special way, it can provide big reassurance that bedtime really is for sleeping. And if your toddler has a unique bedtime arrangement (maybe he has to sleep with three or four of the same special stuffed friends each night?), then he can take pride in knowing that just like the animals, he has his own special way of sleeping. Babies will love this book, too – especially if you’re working on teaching your baby animal names and sounds.

 
Unknown-4 BOOK: Sleep Like A Tiger – by Mary Logue

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: A feisty little girl lets her parents know in no uncertain terms that she is not – positively not – tired. Her loving parents convince her that bed really is the place for her, and a colorful parade of animals follows, as these ingenious parents convince their little one to “sleep like a tiger”.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Who among us HASN’T had a bedtime-avoider on their hands? The “I’m not tired!” line is a favorite among most toddlers. Well, this book is a great choice for the bedtime avoider in your house. Through this story and it’s gorgeous illustrations, your toddler will learn that it’s okay to have a feisty spirit, but that bedtime can be an exciting and imaginative time, too!

 
Unknown-3 BOOK: Where Do Diggers Sleep At Night? – by Brianna Caplan Sayres

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: An adorable look at where the big “diggers” sleep at night – this one is quite similar to Good Night, Good Night, Construction Site.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: For the wee truck-lover in your life! If you have a little one who loves heavy machinery in your home, this book is sure to be a hit. As your child watches the beloved trucks and diggers go peacefully to bed, odds are bedtime will start to seem more appealing to your little guy or little girl, too!

 
Unknown-2 BOOK: Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go To Sleep – by Joyce Dunbar

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: Little Willa is scared to go to sleep – good thing her big brother Willoughby is there to tell her something happy before she goes to sleep!

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Bedtime fears and fear of the dark are very real for toddlers – and it’s very possible that at some point during the sleep coaching process, your little one will suddenly become scared at bedtime. This book is a great solution to that problem! Willa’s “happy thoughts” before bed can become your child’s – or, after the book is done, come up with some happy thoughts of your own! As for babies, they’re sure to love the snuggly bunny characters in this sweet little book.

 
Unknown-1 BOOK: It’s Time To Sleep, My Love – by Nancy Tillman

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: Mama animals gently put their babies to sleep in this fantastic book, complete with gorgeous, lush illustrations.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: It can really help your little one to know that when it’s her bedtime, lots of other things are going to bed, too – including animals! The soft, lilting rhymes of this book will lull even the youngest babies to sleep, and the message that everything around the world is going to bed can go a long way to helping your baby or toddler settle down and fall asleep without a fuss.

 
Unknown BOOK: Simpson’s Sheep Won’t Go To Sleep! – by Bruce Arent

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: Simpson’s sheep need to go to sleep – but they just won’t! Between yakking and stalling and needing to “go”, these sheep are pro bedtime stalkers.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Have a bedtime staller on your hands? Then this is the book for you! By the end, you and your toddler will be rolling over the sheep’s stall tactics, and will be chanting together, “Go to sleep, sheep!” This is a great way for toddlers to see how silly bedtime stalling can look from a different perspective, and will hopefully help you make progress towards smoother bedtimes yourselves.

 
Unknown-7BOOK: Sleep Is For Everyone – by Paul Showers

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: This little books presents great, basic information about why living things need sleep, and takes a look at how animals sleep, how people sleep, how sleep affects our brains, and more.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Have a little budding scientist at home who constantly asks, “But why?” I can relate! If your little one just needs to know the “why” behind why she has to go to sleep, you’ll want to grab a copy of this book. It presents the basics about why sleep is important in a straightforward, easy-to-understand way. This book will definitely help convince your little bedtime skeptic that sleep matters, and that can help make sleep coaching even easier on both of you!

 
Unknown-8BOOK: Bedtime – by Elizabeth Verdick

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: Watch a toddler go through his bedtime routine with his family, from brushing teeth to taking a bath to lullabies and snuggles.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Toddlers will be reassured that yes, bedtime is normal and everyone is doing it when they watch the character in the story go through his bedtime routine with mom and dad, and snuggle down happily into bed. Modeling good bedtime behavior and cooperation is a great way to help show your toddler exactly what’s expected of him at bedtime, and this book does exactly that – it provides a positive model of what bedtime should look like. A great tool to add to your sleep coaching arsenal! And babies can get a lot out of this book, too – after all, it’s never too late to start modeling good bedtime behavior, and establishing a strong bedtime routine! Note that this book is one in a series called “Toddler Tools” – check out their other books on meal-times, nap time, clean-up time, and more.

 
Unknown-9BOOK: Nursies When The Sun Shines – by Katerhine C. Havener

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: An adorable breastfeeding toddler learns that nighttime is for sleeping, and that “nursies” happen when during the day, when the sun shines.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: A FABULOUS book for co-sleeping parents who are working on weaning an older baby or toddler away from nighttime nursing. A client actually recommended this one to us awhile back, and said it was a lifesaver in her home! If you are working on night weaning as part of your sleep coaching, this book will be a great tool for you – it’s designed to help even young toddlers understand when it’s time to nurse, and when it’s time to sleep.

Get Sleep Training Help From The Baby Sleep Site®

A great arsenal of bedtime books can be a big help in your sleep training endeavors – but you’ll need more than bedtime stories to help your baby or toddler learn to fall asleep peacefully at bedtime and sleep through the night. You’ll need us! Let our team of expert sleep consultants craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for you, that’s personalized to your family and that’ll walk you through every step of sleep coaching.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

This is by no means an exhaustive list – we want to hear about your favorite bedtime books! Share your recommendations in the comments below, and help us expand our list!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

Disclosure: The Amazon links above are affiliate links. If you opt to purchase one of these books, The Baby Sleep Site® may receive a small commission from your purchase. This will not affect your purchase price. We only recommend those products that we feel are good resources for our readers.